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Home » Dermatology » Sun cream tips: what you need to know

Dr Justine Kluk

Consultant Dermatologist

Choosing a skin care routine that also protects you from the rays of the sun may seem like a difficult task, especially if you have acne. But thanks to new, better formulated products, you can stay safe while continuing to look and feel great.

Summer in the UK is widely unpredictable: will we wake up to a glorious sunny day or another downpour? Regardless of the sky outside, we are all still at risk from some of the more harmful rays – UVA and UVB, especially during the warmer months between April and September. That’s why sun cream is so important.

You might already be aware of the dangers if you are susceptible to burning or if you have a skin disorder or issues with excess pigmentation that are aggravated by sunlight.

However, people with conditions, such as acne, often avoid sun cream in case it makes their skin flare up. But, thanks to new technology, this is no longer the case.

Protecting your face from the sun before you apply make-up may require a bit more thought, especially if you’re prone to breakouts.

Harmful rays

While UVB is responsible for sunburn and skin cancer, UVA ages our skin and could also contribute to skin cancer risk if exposed over time.

Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Justine Kluk, believes that, while us Brits love to top up our tan, we’re not so great at topping up the sun cream. This is why she recommends choosing a broad spectrum SPF 30 or above to wear daily in the sunny season, even if you’re indoors, as UVA rays can penetrate through window glass.

She says: “SPF, or sun protection factor, protects our skin from UVB rays. If your skin would normally burn within 10 or 20 minutes of exposing it to the sun without protection, applying adequate quantities of SPF 30 means that it would take up to 30 times as long for the same to happen. This is why using a high SPF is important. SPF 30 blocks approximately 97% of UV rays.”

She added: “Also, look for products that offer UVA protection. If you sit next to a window on a regular basis, you may find yourself in the rays of the sun more than you think, which can lead to premature ageing of the skin.”

Different types of sun cream

Here in the UK, there are two types of sun cream that are readily available: those that you can wear instantly (physical) and others that take between 15 and 30 minutes to activate (chemical). Understanding this should play a part in which sun cream you choose to use and re-apply during the day.

Most sun creams are fine to be mixed if desired, as long as you are sure of the application timings, and if you’re sweating or swimming, make sure to re-apply.

While you can cover your body easily with loose clothes, protecting your face from the sun before you apply make-up may require a bit more thought, especially if you get spots. Sun creams designed for all-over use may feel a little thick or heavy and might be bad news if you’re prone to break outs.

Instead, Dr Kluk advises you use a facial sun cream like Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Face Fluid. She says: “Traditional sun cream under make-up may feel too greasy and could also cause spots in acne-prone skin. Face Fluid is a great solution for everyday sun care, with a lightweight, noncomedogenic (or non-pore blocking) formula that doesn’t contribute to formation of blackheads. It won’t aggravate existing conditions such as acne or oily skin and goes on perfectly underneath your make-up. It’s also really affordable.”

Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Face Fluid SPF 50+

This sun cream is has a lightweight formula, with a non-greasy finish and includes some of the latest in skin technology with the use of intelligent polymers that create a more even distribution on the skin with a barely-there finish. And it’s currently only £7, so it’s really affordable!

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